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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition): Shards of the Throne» Forums » Strategy

Subject: Thoughts on Fall of the Empire rss

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Michael Cohen
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Hi all,
I recently ran through a Fall of the Empire scenario. I was the Lazax (it's my game!), and I lost to a Power-Hungry Letnev on turn 6. Some thoughts:

There's a lot less combat in this scenario than the regular game. The reason is the objective structure. Most of the objectives have either two goals - a) stay out of trouble, or b) hide what they're doing from the interfering Lazax for as long as possible, and then strike very suddenly.
Let's look at how this breaks down:
Unstoppable Army, Support of the People: Stay out of trouble and don't attract attention. Don't get into fights. In the former case it's a waste of resources, while for the latter, it alienates players who might take your treaties. Actually, I feel sorry for a Support for the People player. It looks like a really hard objective to do. It didn't show up in my game though.

Loyalist: Stay out of trouble. Try to help the Lazax out, at least when it comes to your two nearer neighbours.

Anarchist: Make noise, and fuss, but generally don't get into fights for most of the game. In order for you to win, the game must reach round 8, and if it does, you're probably the guy who's going to have to create some anarchy. Conserve your forces.

Traitor, Opportunist, and Power-Hungry:
Develop Light Wave Deflectors. Bide your time, then strike a single merciless blow. Avoid raising the ire of the Lazax until you're ready. If possible, try to time your attack just after the Lazax have extended themselves to stop someone else winning the game. Don't forget, when you take the planet(s) you need, the game ends immediately. Not at the end of the round, but straight away.
If you're the Opportunist, hope like hell you're not on the other side of the galaxy from Quann. If you are, try to win by piggybacking on someone else, because it's going to be very hard to project force to Quann.

In general, this structure leads to a lot of prep, and then one decisive brutal game round where it all plays out. Crucial to the whole thing is making sure the Lazax don't know what you're up to. Clever Traitors, Opportunists, Power-Hungerers, and Anarchists can often look like Loyalists. The first three are biding their time, trying to look like model citizens until they strike. The last wants to keep everyone from winning until the last round.

If you're the Lazax, some things to watch for:
1) Look out for any player who is likely to have some combination of Light Wave Deflector and Warfare in any given round. He's probably coming for you or someone else. Because of the instant win rules, your only hope for catching him is the fact that his fleet spends a bit of time in transit while he activates Warfare, or the Action Card equivalent. Be ready to strike.
2) You are going to be rolling in cash, but will have low build limits. You're going to have a dock in Mecatol, and another on Quann, for obvious reasons. Your third dock will be in a different system, probably Lodor. This sucks. Since you have great trade treaties, and the Hacan are around, you're probably going to be filthy rich too. Lots of resources, low build limits. You're going to be spending a lot of command counters to keep building a massive fleet. Then that aforementioned decisive round is going to come and you won't have enough CCs. You need Logistics to be played every single round if possible. If it's played by you, all those lovely Influence are going to be wasted. Best it be played by someone else. Unfortunately, since the other players are going to be mostly just building fleets for the inevitable confrontation, they aren't too likely to be short of CCs either. This is a problem.
3) When that fateful turn comes (probably turn 5, 6, or 7) you need to be well-placed. You need CCs for stalling. Your awesome fleets (and they will be awesome) are going to suck if they are immobilized by command counters. Once a player has or is getting Light Wave Deflectors, you become much more vulnerable. Unlike a regular game, you don't have a chance for retaliation, taking back your home system after they take it. If they take it, game is over. Keep a very close eye on the board. Think twice before committing your fleet to trounce a player who looks like they're about to attack you or someone else. You may be moving your fleet out of position for the real threat.
4) Most important of all - know the objectives. Unlike the other players, you need to know what EVERYONE else is doing. The other players need to think about the players on either side of them, since they're the only ones they can affect. You need to think about everyone.
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Adam Mitchell
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Thanks! I've been intrigued by this scenario since I first heard of it, and I'm glad to have your impressions and thoughts about it. Question: I know it didn't come up in your game, but would you support removing the "Support of the People" objective? It looks almost impossible to achieve to me.
 
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Michael Cohen
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I'd consider it in anything but a 7 player game.
I think the two most awful objectives are Support for the People, and Opportunist if you are on the other side of the galaxy from Quann.
And even Opportunist can be accomplished with a good fleet, Lightwave Deflectors, and the Warfare strategy card (and a bit of timing and luck).
I just can't see how I could possibly accomplish support for the people without making it bleedingly obvious what I was doing, and it's trivial to stop once it's clear.
 
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baron vendredi
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Twilight Imperium (Third Edition): Shards of the Throne » Forums » Strategy
Re: Thoughts on Fall of the Empire
Quote:
Most of the objectives have either two goals - a) stay out of trouble, or b) hide what they're doing from the interfering Lazax for as long as possible


I find with a lesser number of players, in the 4 or 5 player scenario, one possible Lazax opening is peace through superior firepower. Sure, your loyalist might get caught in the crossfire, but hey, peace never comes without a little collateral damage.

The Lazax start with a superb spread of frigates and cruisers - and stasis capsules. The map is small enough that you can snipe lone carriers if your opponents oblige you with unescorted expansion ships, or quickly grab unprotected colonies and/or spacedocks.

Spread your forces and the start and build carrier hunting wolfpacks of two or three cruisers (substitute with destroyers to handle fighter escorts). If you can afford the time, bring Ground Forces for the occasional "police action" on a lightly defended world - all players will be in a very vulnerable state at the start of the game and stretched very thin. If you can pick up Industrex, a couple of other red tech worlds, you can quickly pick up Hylar V, improving your cruiser effectiveness, and from there go to Deep Space Cannon and War Suns - all of which will help you maintain the stranglehold.

Being able to throttle early expansion is very potent and can snowball you into the late game. You don't even necessarily have to destroy carriers, either - the mere threat of having vulnerable carriers at knifepoint can make other players very receptive to your wishes - things like "encouraging" Hacan into an exclusive trade agreement with you.

I'll note that Letnev remains a difficult player to pin down. His superb home system, coupled with his starting Dreadnaught, makes it hard to push him around. Still, the odds are good if you can catch the Dread alone with a pack of cruisers. Jol'Nar, Sol, and Hacan have much weaker starting fleets.

The ideal scenario is to outmaneuver and eventually blockade the space docks of all other players, though realistically speaking you likely won't be able to maintain a stranglehold forever - especially if you're trying to pin down all players. Still, it can often buy you enough time to build up a substantial fleet, command counter, and technological edge - if you make it into turn 5 with War Sun and a Deep Space Cannon PDS grid surrounding Quann and Mecatol, you're in good shape. The trick is recognizing the point at which it's good to withdraw and form a consolidated line of defence to hold out for the remaining 2 or 3 turns.

You can also consider enlisting one or two or letting up a blockade with a treaty card - especially if you think a player has one of the longer term objectives like Anarchist, Unstoppable Army, or Support of the People. It's likely a lot easier for a player dealt one of those objectives to go for an allied victory.

Good use of the Civilization card and judicious Agenda choices can also play well into this strategy. An early game "Repeal Labour Laws", forcing players to destroy their space docks, is a minor inconvenience for you but a devastating blow for other players in the early game, especially if you've sniped their carriers.

This strategy isn't for the thin-skinned or the weak-stomached. Those who aren't willing to treat their fellow players with some callous and heavy-handed brutality are advised to try something else. But I think it's a strategy befitting of a Galactic Emperor.
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